Boise – With weather getting colder, and holidays on the horizon, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) wants to ensure that all drivers are “Idaho Ready” for winter driving conditions. “Idaho Ready” is ITD’s annual winter safety campaign. The goal is to equip drivers with information and advice so they can safely and confidently navigate Idaho’s roadways, regardless of the forecast.
On Thursday, ITD, Idaho State Police, and law enforcement agencies from several counties gathered for a news conference to drive home the importance of wearing seatbelts and driving to conditions this winter. Nearly 50 law enforcement and safety agencies will participate in extra patrols to keep our roadways safe. Funding for the patrols and overtime work focused on seat belt violations and impaired driving enforcement will be provided by a grant through ITD’s Office of Highway Safety (OHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The enforcement campaign will run from November 17, 2022, through January 1, 2023. Click here to download soundbites, video, and a photo from the event.
Safety is ITD’s top priority when preparing for winter weather, both for drivers and for the ITD operators who maintain the roads every day. Across Idaho, hundreds of operators work around the clock to clear snow and keep Idaho’s 13,000 miles of highways safe. However, one of the biggest dangers for these operators is other drivers. Last winter, 11 people crashed into snowplows in Idaho. Most drivers tried to pass snowplows on the right and hit a deployed wing plow. Reminding motorists that the safest place to be when roads are snowy is behind the plow, is just one of the many topics ITD shares with the “Idaho Ready” campaign.
Here are a few more easy tips for winter driving:
- Check the road conditions before traveling. Visit 511.idaho.gov, download the Idaho 511 app, or follow @Idaho511 on Twitter. 511 has weather reports, cameras, road closures, and more.
- Keep a winter emergency kit in your car and prepare your car for winter driving by checking your windshield wiper fluid, battery, and tires.
- When roads are wet or icy, slow down and give yourself more stopping distance. Turn off cruise control and remember, bridges and overpasses are the first to freeze when temperatures drop.
- If you do slide, stay calm, brake very gently, and turn your wheel in the direction of the skid. Try not to overcorrect.
- Let others know your travel plans, especially if you will be driving through areas with no cell service. Check in when you arrive.
- Using a GPS? Review the route before you hit the road in case your GPS tries to take you on unfamiliar or unmaintained back roads.
- Beware of drowsy driving! Stop and rest when needed, and plan breaks on long road trips. Rest areas are also mapped on Idaho 511
- If your holiday celebrations include alcohol, plan for a sober ride home. Look out for your friends and family and help them get home safely too.
- Buckle up, stay engaged behind the wheel, and drive for the conditions this winter.
Watch ITD’s social media channels and website for weekly winter driving tips and best practices: